Origin of All the World’s a Stage
Like several other phrases, this phrase was coined by William Shakespeare. Jacques has spoken this famous phrase in Act-II, Scene-VII of the play As You Like It. He says, “All the world’s a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players.” The meaning of this phrase is that this world is like a stage show, and all human beings are merely actors. In fact, this speech is a continuance of the idea given by Orlando earlier in the play.
Meaning of All the World’s a Stage
Shakespeare draws readers’ attention toward the drama everyone lives throughout their lives. He is really reducing the life of human beings to a performance, or an acting role, which might look ridiculous. Simply, he means that all human beings are players, who play their assigned roles in every day. For instance, if somebody is a soldier now, he is playing the role Lord has allotted to him. Same is the case with other professionals. Even several roles are common such, as the role of a young lover, a haughty middle-aged man, or a great golfer.
Usage of All the World’s a Stage
Whatever the reason, the phrase, “All the world is a stage” is used in every sort of context. Oscar Wilde has put his spin on this phrase, declaring that, “The world is a stage, and the play is badly cast.” Allan Moore in his novel, V for Vendetta, has taken it to a completely new level by saying, “All the world’s a stage, and everything else is vaudeville.”
Now notice how people love to quote this phrase, because it sounds very clever, and they believe that this line has something that still resonates today. Though they do not refer to seven stages of a man as this idea has become archaic; however, the idea is merely a comparison of this world with a stage. Therefore, a politician can use it, addressing a rally, or a disappointed person can use it when expressing his depression, referring to his good or bad condition.
Literary Source of All the World’s a Stage
Jacques quotes this line from Act-II, Scene-VII of Shakespeare’s As You Like It as:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
(As You Like It, Act-II, Scene-VII, Lines 139-143)
Literary Analysis of All the World’s a Stage
The idea behind this phrase is fortune and fate. Jacques deploys a famous theatrical metaphor of seven stages of human life in this speech. He compares the world to a play, or a stage, and all men and women are merely actors or players on this stage called the world. All the people enter into this world through different routes, and exit on an different route. They enter into this stage when they are born, and leave it when they die. During this entire life span, every person plays different parts or roles, and these parts are known as seven stages, which are like different acts of a drama or play.
- Metaphor: Misunderstanding is metaphor for greatness.
- Tone: Depressing